over·​drive | \ ˈō-vər-ˌdrīv How to pronounce overdrive (audio) \

Definition of overdrive

1 : an automotive transmission gear that transmits to the drive shaft a speed greater than engine speed
2 : a state of heightened activity going into rhetorical overdrive

Examples of overdrive in a Sentence

He put the car into overdrive. His acting career is in overdrive. The reporters went into overdrive to finish their stories on time.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Riverdale fans are in overdrive after Camila Mendes posted a pretty cozy Instagram with costar Charles Melton. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Camila Mendes Posts Kissing Photo With Charles Melton," 7 Oct. 2018 Not to mention that her libido is in overdrive during this time. Anonymous As Told To Sophie Saint Thomas, Marie Claire, "I'm a Man Who's Turned On by Your Period," 19 Sep. 2016 Look Is a Vintage Score In the last year, Kim Kardashian West’s love of vintage fashion has gone into overdrive. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West’s Latest Look Is a Vintage Score," 18 Apr. 2019 Migration to Houston has gone into overdrive in the past 15 years largely because the absence of zoning laws has kept housing comparatively cheap. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018 Those speculations helped Boyajian and colleagues launch a successful Kickstarter project that raised funding for further scrutiny of the star, an effort that jumped into overdrive in May 2017, when the star began another dimming episode. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "It’s Never Aliens—until It Is," 9 Jan. 2018 Ballard kicked it into overdrive in the third quarter, making 10 out of 11 shots at one point. Steve Bittenbender, The Courier-Journal, "Ballard boys basketball cruises to victory over Pleasure Ridge Park," 5 Jan. 2018 But more recently, it's kicked its skin-care game into overdrive. Lauren Swanson, Allure, "Amazon Launches Its First-Ever Skin-Care Line Today — and Everything's Under $40," 20 Mar. 2019 And that tendency can be kicked into overdrive on the internet, where false ideas spread like viruses among like-minded people. Brian Resnick, Vox, "We’re underestimating the mind-warping potential of fake video," 23 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overdrive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of overdrive

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for overdrive

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overdrive

The first known use of overdrive was in 1926

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More Definitions for overdrive



English Language Learners Definition of overdrive

: a gear in an automobile that allows it to be driven at higher speeds
: a state of great activity especially in order to achieve something

More from Merriam-Webster on overdrive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overdrive

Comments on overdrive

What made you want to look up overdrive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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